Health leaders are calling for an urgent review to determine whether the UK is properly prepared for the “real risk” of a second wave of coronavirus.
The appeal calls for an urgent assessment of the UK’s ability to deal with a renewed outbreak of the virus, so that further deaths can be prevented and the economy can be protected.
The letter, addressed to the leaders of all the UK political parties and published in the British Medical Journal, is signed by leading figures in the health sector, including the presidents of the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Surgeons.
The signatories said that although the pandemic is difficult to predict, evidence suggests that “local flare ups are increasingly likely and a second wave a real risk.”
They added: “Many elements of the infrastructure needed to contain the virus are beginning to be put in place, but substantial challenges remain.
“The job now is not only to deal urgently with the wide-ranging impacts of the first phase of the pandemic, but to ensure that the country is adequately prepared to contain a second phase.”
The medics said the first results of the review should come no later than August.
Professor Martin Marshall, the chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, was among those who signed the letter.
Prof Marshall told the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that a four-party and cross-nations review should be carried out to help the UK tackle a possible second wave of the disease.
“We think that there is a lot of constructed learning that could be done in a number of areas,” he said.